Our guest columnist – Con Constantine – will present readers with a cleverly written send-up and an ironic imitation of the building industry.

Con hopes that by enjoying his articles – you will learn about the building industry and not fall into carefully concealed traps that can be costly, stressful and time-consuming.

Con strongly supports the concept of ‘buyer beware’ but at UltraCon Constructions – its more about what he doesn’t say!

Greetings again –

This time I am going to say tempus fugit between my monthly columns.

I have only just realised that tempus fugit means time flies – I have always thought it was a Latin swear word until an incident in my local supermarket last week.

Mrs. Constantine ran out of ………… which is the secret ingredient in her short pastry so I heroically offered to dash down to replenish her supplies.

There was a queue a mile long at the check out and I was so tempted to see if I could sign up a new dream home whilst waiting my turn – the man in front of me had ‘I’d kill for a dream home’ written all over his face.

Just as I was about to introduce myself – I felt a whack in the back on my knees.  I turned around to see a trolley so loaded with toilet paper that the little old lady pushing it couldn’t see over the toilet paper and so she couldn’t see me. I was so taken a back – that I turned around and said ‘tempus fugit’ – angrily – and this dear old lady replied – “it does – specially when you are having fun like me”.

I put two and two together regarding tempus fugit and will not make the same embarrassing error again!

I have received a great deal of congratulatory and quizzical mail regarding how Mrs. Constantine and I cleverly intertwine our business and social lives, so I thought I would give you another example of how we make it work for UltaCon Constructions.

Mrs. Constantine gives $2 tax-deductible donations to as many charities as possible so – in essence – we become Patrons and subsequently receive dozens of invitations to Patrons events.

We like cocktail parties because between the two of us – we can work the room superbly.

Mrs. Constantine always has her pre-party mani, pedi and hair do – I just need to make sure my hair is perfectly slicked back and I am heavily bathed in after-shave.  Off we go!

When we arrive at the cocktail party – Mrs. Constantine and I go in separate directions – both armed with UltraCon business cards.  Mrs. Constantine has nowhere to conceal contracts except down her adequate cleavage, but retrieving them could be embarrassing for her so I carry the contracts – carefully folded in my jacket pocket with my fluorescent orange UltraCon pen which glows through my jacket pocket.

When I take it out of my pocket to use it – people think I have come directly from my late afternoon job as a traffic controller!!

Back to our strategy.

Mrs. Constantine and I identify our targets before we both weave our way through the crowd.

It works a treat – I ‘accidentally’ bump into a guest holding a glass of red wine causing the wine to spill on the guest’s clothing.  I apologise profusely and then take out a business card and hand it to the distraught guest saying I will gladly pay for the dry cleaning.

People soon forget the unsightly stains on their clothing and focus on my generosity in offering to pay for the dry cleaning.  This exchange invites introductions so as soon as I have handed over my business card I do my UltaCon spiel and more often than not – sign up a new dream home.

Mrs. Constantine is on the other side of the room doing the same thing for UltraCon but she also takes orders for fruit flans.  The code to leave the function is a mutual wave across the crowd. We always meet back at the car high fiving each other on the success of the night.

I have also received mail regarding new builds and renovations and there appears to be a particular interest in power – probably because the Government wants us all to install solar panels.

We can install solar panels.  I have had a lot of experience using the sun because I used to set paper on fire when I was a child using a magnifying glass and the sun.  I can use my knowledge of sun physics to whip up some solar panels for half the price of a registered Solar Panel installer.

A subsidiary of UltraCon Constructions is Eric’s Electrifying Electricians.  No job is too small for Eric – our head Electrician.

Power is the buzz word on everybody’s lips at the moment.  Power makes me think of my rigorous weight training regime.  I haven’t the time to go to the gym so I lift Mrs. Constantine up and down 20 times am and pm and I have muscles even Arnie Schwarzenegger would envy!

The venerable Mike Heathcote – Building Inspector extraordinaire – has a word to say about everything – including power.

He deems that power supplies should be protected by RCD safety switching on power and light circuits.  However – our Eric disagrees with Mike.  Eric considers a swift visual observation is perfectly acceptable.

Mike Heathcote also insists that power supply should support the use of multiple devices and appliances in the home so to save my clients the cost of upgrading switch boards – I recommend reducing the number of devices and appliances in the home.

Hand washing and a Hills Hoist in the garden is a great start – no need for washing or drying machines.

I also recommend that my clients have their tea and coffee in cafes which obviates the need for kettles and coffee machines – and it is also very good for the economy.

Mike Heathcote also considers switchboards made from Bakelite and/or Asbestos to be a defect.  Again – I disagree because I send in Vic with his turbo charged vacuum cleaner and voila – no more asbestos!

Mike does not give outdated 1980’s style power boards the thumbs up, but I do.  I love Art Deco and these boards are just that and these switchboards certainly met the standards and recommendations of their day.  Old buildings stand the test of time so I see no reason why these old power boards won’t do the same.  I recommend that Eric the Electrifying Electrician does yearly swift visual observations and that my clients adopt the minimal approach to living – minimal appliances and devices and Bob’s Your Uncle!  The less power you use the more money you will have to spend elsewhere on your dream home.

My time is up for this column so I invite you to continue emailing me with your building and renovating questions.

If Mrs. Constantine is addressed as she has requested – Dear Mrs. Constantine – she will answer questions about our unapparelled marketing strategy.

I might ask that you refrain from questions about the fruit flans.  As I have mentioned before – the short pastry recipe is a closely guarded, generational secret and Mrs. Constantine is a bit over being asked questions about how she stews the fruit.

Until next time –